Interviewee: Stanley Igel
Interviewer: Alan Petigny
July 12, 1993
P:Let us begin from the beginning. Your name is Stanley Igel.
I:Yes, Igel it pronounces eagle. The spelling is Igel.
P:What is your middle name?
P:No middle name. Are you a junior or a chip off the old block?
Was your father Stanley as well?
P:Who were your parents and what were their names?
I:Gustav and Tony.
P:Gustav Van Tony, so you changed your name.
I:No, I did not change my name, there was Igel too. Gustav and
P:I see. That was your father.
P:And your mother was?
P:What do they do?
P:Are they farmers?
P:When were you born?
I:October 7, 1912.
P:Where were you born?
P:Where about in Poland.
I:The area near big city Przemysl. The village was Stubienko.
P:And you were born in the village?
P:Where your parents owned a farm.
P:Did you have any brothers and sisters?
I:Yes. There was four children. The older brother was a doctor.
The sister was and I was a certified agronomist
and the youngest was too young when the war started.
P:So, you were the second from the youngest.
I:I was the third. The oldest was the brother, next was the
sister, and I was the third one.
P:What were their names?
I:Leon, Salla, Stanley, and Marty.
P:What is your earliest childhood movie?
I:Well, I will say from seven or eight years.
P:What was it?
I:Well, the memory was that I was living in a village with a
beautiful community, and we had a huge farm, several
thousand acres and the farm was working three to four
hundred people daily and the father and mother were farmers
for three generations and later on I went to public school,
went to high school, went to college.
P:Where did you go to college?
P:What was it called?
I:It was a regular college. In Poland the system was entirely
different than here. Here you go to high school, you go to
college, in Poland you went to Gymnasium, gymnasium was
eight years. When you were ten years old you finished four
year public school and then you went into gymnasium for
eight years. From gymnasium you went straight to medical
school. To agronomist school straight, engineering school,
this was exactly like here high school and college. The
system was entirely different.
P:So, the gymnasium that you went to was a local one.
I:Shamish, the city of 65,000 people.
P:Oh the city, I see, and you studied agronomy.
I:Later, after college. After college, I went into the Polish
P:You went in as an officer, I understand.
P:Before we get to that, is it fair to say, you said your parents
owned several thousand acres?
I:A couple thousand acres.
P:Okay. They have many people working for them on the farm.
P:So it is fair to say that they were rather affluent.
I:No, they were little farmers.
P:But successful farmers?
I:Very successful farmers. Only farmers and teachers
not gentlemen farmers, only really farmers. The children,
all the children were working on the farm, many go studying
and a vacation was working on the farm together with the
P:Okay. You said that you were drafted into the Polish army.
P:Now, Poland as you know there are a lot of atrocities, that
took place during the war, but I am curious while you were
growing up as a young man, was there considerable anti-
I:Well, I will tell you what is. I will say that the semitism
was not bigger than it is in the United States or was not
bigger than a lot of countries. The only
difference was, we have 14.5% Jewish people in Poland, in
the United States we have 2.5%. We have states in the
United States that they do not know what a Jew
P:They do not, I am sorry.
I:They do not know what a Jew the states and the
United States, the Far East, they do not know, a Jewish,
what do you mean a Jewish. In Poland we have 14.5% Jewish
people. The Jewish have all of their rights in Poland.
They go to college. In our city was a supreme court, the
local state supreme court, we got seven judges,
we have officers in the army who are
Jewish, we have generals who are Jewish in the army, we have
doctors, lawyers, a matter of fact, Shamish the city got one
hundred and eighty doctors, and out of the one hundred and
eighty doctors, one hundred and ten were Jewish doctors.
P:So it is fair to say that you are proud to be Polish.
I:One hundred percent. existed up until 1939, I was
proud to be Polish. Naturally I was surprised, very poorly,
when the Communist took over Poland, you know. After a
time, the Communist took over Poland, a matter of fact I am
thankful to the Polish people, they saved my daughter,
The bishop of the city took away my child when
she was eighteen months old and this was that penalty with
the Germans to take a Jewish child. He saved her, he was
giving a birth certificate, a got quite a few
because they helped, and I am thanking a lot of Polish
people that we are alive. I saved my brother, saved my
wife, saved my brother-in-law, the only thing the Polish
people. I was proud to be a Polish officer in the army. I
never felt in the army that I was Jewish. My religion, I
was Jewish, but in the army, I was Polish.
P:That is interesting.
I:I know you hear a lot of times, you hear and I hear this
constantly, and I do not have any arguments with certain
Jewish people, they do not know. First of all, a tremendous
amount of Jewish people do not know what Poland means. They
left Europe for the United States in 1905, there was a
speaking Polish, but this was not Poland. This was
Austria, Hungary, you know, Poland was established in 1919,
and 1920, the real Polish government. They think that they
were in Poland because one hundred and fifty, two hundred
years ago this part was occupied by the Polish. In my
opinion Poland was established in 1919 and 1920. In this
time, I will say a Jew, which was interested in following
the rules and regulations of the country was treated exactly
like a Catholic
P:Like a Catholic
I:Exactly the same.
P:Now, you joined the army in 1939.
I:No, I went into the army in 1933.
P:1933, as an officer.
I:No, as a private, then I went to officer school for two years.
P:I see. What particular assignment did you have?
I:Well, I was in the army, which we were building bridges. We
were destroying mines. It was a specialty, I will say in
this way, in this unit in which I served was not too many
Jewish people. I will be sincere and honest. First of all,
this unit needed to have men, which the country, the special
army must trust as a You know, because in every
country, we have this in the United States too, we have this
in all other countries, not every citizen of the country you
can trust. We have in Poland thirty-one million people,
twenty-one million Poles, three and a half million Jews and
was seven million Ukrainian. The Ukrainian were not
trustful because they wanted their own country, like
Yugoslavia today, like in the Soviet Union, Ukrainian as a
nation. This the reason. If you were to the
country. You were following the rules and regulations and
the laws, I do not see how somebody was mistreated. As a
matter of fact, I priced very high with the Polish
P:Now, the Nazis came into Poland.
P:What year was this?
P:1939. Did you expect this to happen? Was this a surprise?
I:No. I will tell you what is. My wedding was the 27 of October
in 1939. The wedding was at six o'clock in the evening and
at eight o'clock in the evening through the wedding, I got a
notice to immediately report to the U.N. The law was in
Poland that every single officer got his uniform and his
pistol to take home. I took the bride, I went home, I
changed my uniform, I put in my pistol, and I went to the
unit. Unfortunately you know, in thirty days Poland was
defeated. I know a lot of people say what kind of country
is this to be defeated in thirty days. France was defeated
in seven days, with Napoleon. It was defeated by
the Germans in seven days. In my opinion the Poles were
heroes. They were kept in thirty days.
P:Did you see action during these thirty days?
I:Direct battles, as a matter of fact, 30 of August, in the night
time, they sent us to Germans.
P:Can you repeat that?
I:The 30 of August in the night time, they sent us to the German
boarder. They were expecting the Germans to start flying
over Poland and the 31, in the night our generals were
giving us orders that we need to cross the boarders into
Germany. The thirty-first in the night, we crossed the
boarders into Germany. The mean time, the Germans prepared
this special to take us in and later to give us the
They moved out around ten kilometers, you know
around five, six, seven miles. Then we went in.
P:Did you go in there?
I:Oh yes, definitely, we went with the unit, because I was in
charge of a unit of one hundred and twenty men.
.We have not found any thing, we only
found old people, seventy-five, to eighty years old people.
Every single cell was evacuated. Later on we found out
that this was the policy of the Germans to take us in and to
I:That is right.
P:So, you went into the boarder because you knew that they were
going to attack.
I:That is right. And we crossed the boarder later, in the moment
that they reported through the radio, we do not have
televisions in this country, the radio, they reported,
Immediately we crossed the boarder. We
crossed the boarder and a matter of fact we were a little
bit miss informed too. I would say the espionage, the
Polish espionage was very poor, because in the night time,
at one o'clock our general called in a few units and he was
talking to us. The Germans crossed the boarder to Poland in
another section. We are crossing the boarder to Germany,
they are going to and we are going to Berlin. You
know, what they found out was a fantasy, you know. We went
in a day and the next day they were giving us a
They surrounded us, my gosh, from the air, from the ground,
and we backed out.
P:What rank were you?
I:Lieutenant. Only realize something else, a lieutenant in the
Polish army was at least the power of a captain here, maybe
a major. The system and the officers was entirely
P:I understand. Did you lose a lot of friends?
I:Yes. We were slaughtered out, we went in around eleven
thousand men, I will not be surprised if we lost three or
four thousand men.
P:I am not talking about Polish lives, I am talking about people
who you knew, people who you worked with, who you were
P:Good friends you have lost.
I:Yes. They attacked the whole country from the air. It was
very strong, the air force and Poland does not have but a
few airplanes on it. They attacked from the air and
slaughtered thousands of innocent people, cities you know.
They bombed cities, ten, twelve, every fifteen
minutes and dropping bombs at this time.
P:Any experiences in battle, did you ever see a friend of yours
I:Yes. Realize that the Polish soldier was excellent. The young
officer was without experience, the old officers like
and all of the Generals they were still officers in
the first war, they got experience. The young officers were
trained in a school and put in a nice uniform and the pistol
and that was all, they would be without experience.
P:Now, the reason I was asking you if you had friends or not, is
I am trying to get from you a personal memory. Do you have
a personal memory of a friend who died or a direct
I:Yes, friends, relatives.
P:Tell me about a friend who died in battle.
I:Well, I do not remember the names now, there were quite a few
P:Is there any incident in the war time, that you found
especially gripping that you still have a memory of?
I:Well, I will tell you about this. It was quite a few friends
from the same unit, you know, which we know that they never
returned back. We marched in, we attacked,
fine, He was missing, and he is not a
prisoner of war, he died. The war was entirely different.
It was a massacre, you know, because they attacked from the
air tremendously and we do not have the experience in the
air. They attacked there was bombing day and night. What
is most important, there was bombing, not only military
objects, private civilian people, killed civilian people,
P:Did you at that point hate all Germans?
I:Well I will tell you this, I must state this as a matter of
opinion. I just testified about six months ago about the
P:I interviewed you about that.
I:Oh, you know, I testified, but see in the court the judge was
asking me, will you say that you hate all of the Germans,
and I said no. Because a lot of Germans during the war,
saved my life and my families life.
P:But you hate Nazis of course.
I:There is no question, I hate the regime, I hate the system, you
P:Now after the defeat of Polish army, after the thirty days of
battle when the Germans moved in, how did you become the
writing instructor of ? Tell me about that.
I:In 1939, when the Polish army was defeated, it was a matter of
agreement, which Stalin signed with Hitler in Moscow, just a
week before the war, that they would divide Poland in two
halves. We had not realized this agreement had been signed.
The United States and England were negotiating and in the
mean time had arrived to Moscow and in a second
building they signed an agreement and this time,
was the Jewish fund secretary in Russia and all the sudden
he resigned and took over. Because most properly
[inaudible] talk to you. Stalin replaced him immediately
and took over and this time they made their
agreement that they would divide Poland up to the river San.
The Russians will take and from San up to there the Germans
will take and a matter of fact the Germans crossed the
boarder, not far from Landsberg from a city, later they
backed out and the Russian army the 17 of September, early
Sunday morning, the Russians marched into Poland and the
Germans went back and they established the marginal line in
P:How did this relate to you and when the Germans came into your
I:Well, I will tell you this, when the Germans came into my town,
I was not there, because I was in the army and I crossed the
boarder to Romania with the Polish army. Later in five
days, I decided to go back, I was going back with the
Russian army. Well the Russian army was marching and the
Germans were falling back. I arrived to my town with the
Russian army and what I found out in this same town, just a
week before, the Germans picked up six hundred Jewish
people. Lawyers, doctors, judges, Rabbis, and they killed
them. They took them out on to the field and they killed
this six hundred people in the day time.
P:All of them?
I:All of them, everybody was involved and this time was my
brother-in-law Big business men, attorneys,
doctors, judges, and Rabbis.
P:None, of your direct family.
P:Now, how did you, I am a little confused.
P:In that you say that you marched back with the Russian army.
P:They let you march back with them?
I:I was a civilian, I changed clothes on the boarder.
I:A lot of people who were escaping the Germans, they went and
later they came back. I was a civilian, a private civilian,
a man like everyone, because I changed the Polish uniform
and nobody knew who I was.
P:But you also said that the Russians went back there. But, I
understand though that eventually you came onto the control
of the Germans.
I:Oh, in 1941, this was a year and a half later.
P:Really. Tell me about that.
I:The was in this way. In 1939 the Germans marched into
our town, to Eastern Europe, Eastern Poland, the agreement
in Moscow, between and Stalin and Hitler,
they made an agreement that they divide Poland in two halves
up to the river, one half the Russians will take, and one
half Poland [was it the Germans not Poland] will take. A
matter of fact the Russians have no rights to go in and to
make an agreement with Hitler, you know. This I will say
that the Russians put a knife in the back to the Polish
army. But we have nothing with the Russians, peaceful
boarder, a peaceful nation, we have nothing to do with it.
When they divided and this time the Russians took over
city and they start their massacre too. Taking away
the people to Siberia and a matter of fact my brother was
arrested by them and he never returned, we do not know what
he is up to today.
P: tried to slaughter a Polish army.
I:Yeah, they cut him and cut him. Finally, I was in the city, I
was a son of a former big farm owner and this was a crime to
the Russians, I was a criminal. Only on the other hand
there was a tremendous shortage of agriculture people in
Russia. They are hungry in today. I found a job
to work in a cellar, to sort potatoes in a basement and I
will say it is maybe luck, a russian come in
pulled in over there and he was asking me the directions. I
went out and I was speaking fluently Russian, because
Ukrainian and Russian are very similar two languages. I
finished a Ukrainian school.
He said, "Oh, you speak wonderful Ukrainian."
I said, "Yes."
"What kind of profession do you have?"
I said, "Well, I am an agronomist".
He said, "what!"
I said, "Yeah, I am an agronomist".
He said, "You want to tell me an agronomist is working here in a
I said, "Yes".
"Have you any papers as an agronomist?"
I said, "Definitely."
He said, "Come in." I was sorry I later why I told him I was an
agronomist, because they would find out who I am and it
would be the first step to Siberia. He took me on a stroll.
P:Did you tell him that?
I:Under road, going with him to the head quarters. What the
hell, I was public, why I was talking to him, for what.
They took me in to the communist party in the city and they
told me to wait in the waiting room, in the mean time a lot
of local communists saw me.
"Oh", they said, "they caught you." Finally, they called me
inside, the from and the local political
they started to question me. How big my fathers
farm was. I told them a little bit smaller, you know. If I
was involved in my fathers farm. I said no, I was not
involved. Of course, I was in school, later I was in the
army and later I went into Agricultural school. What kind
of rank do you have in the army? I told them, I was a
lieutenant. Oh, a lieutenant. I said this was the Polish
war, if somebody graduated from college, high school, if he
was capable, he went into the officers school. Have you any
papers to say you were an agronomist? I said yes. Where
are you ? I said the .In this, the
was occupied by the Russians.
P:What is it called?
I: was big agricultural school. A lot of
Americans we have over there in agricultural school. So you
have papers. I said yes. Go home and bring the papers. I
went home and brought the papers. He said listen, we want
to send you for four weeks to retrain you in agriculture and
you will take your work to the city of Shamish to supply
with agriculture products for the army and the city. Will
you go for retraining? I said Yes I will go, why not. I
arrived, they sent me out to a little town in in
Eastern Poland, a hundred kilometers from Shamish. I
arrived over there.
P:I am sorry. [end of side one A]
Continue. You said so they sent you to . .
I:They asked me if I will go to the school to be retrained and I
told them definitely yes. They sent me over there, I
arrived the next day and was in a class with fifty or sixty
trainees. I was listening to this professor, the thursday
and I found out that the professor does not know anything
either. He was a Russian professor from Moscow. My
competitors, I was looking around and they did not know
anything. They asked me a few questions and I answered a
every question and the professor was looking around, are you
really an agronomist trained in Poland? Yes. They started
to question me, back and forth, back and forth, finally he
asked me this way, he said can you do me a favor. What is
it. I plan to go for two weeks vacation, will you take over
the class for two weeks, you should lecture. I said fine,
only one condition, if you come back I want to go for a week
home. He said yes. Three or four days later, he went away,
to Moscow for a vacation and I took over the class.
P:Wait a second, we will return to that in a second. What kind
of people were in this class, were they mainly Poles, or
were their some Russians as well.
I:No Poles, really you know, they were truck drivers. People on
a low level. Really intellectually very low. Somebody had
a three acre farm in there. Low standard of people. I have
not found one man that I should be able to sit with him and
to talk really farming.
P:Okay, so you made this agreement that you would take over the
class, please continue.
I:I took over the class, he went away and I was going on with the
class and it was not too hard, because you do not need to
teach them too much, because they do not know anything. You
know, everything you told them was okay. In two weeks he
returned back, he took over the class and he gave me a few
days off and I went home. Finally in four weeks, I got my
diploma. I got my diploma from this course, one from the
best and highest honors in agriculture. I returned back to
my city and went to this political who was a nice
guy this political
P:Do you remember his name?
P:That was his last name?
P:Do you remember his first name?
I:No. He was really a very nice guy. At least he was at a
decent level intellectually. You know, he was not from the
He called me in and he asked me, if you have
realized of a responsibility you have. You will be
responsible for sixty-five thousand people, to supply
fruits, vegetables, and all agricultural products. Beside
this, we have twenty thousand men in the army, you will need
to supply them too. Will you be able to do it. I said, it
is a job, a very responsible job, I will try, on only one
condition, you must give me people, people I know in the
city, I was going to school over there, you must permit me
to select people in my that should be able to help
me. I, one man can not supply seventy-five, or eighty
thousand people with products. You see, you have a field
hand. I organize the staff, because we will figure cabbage,
we need to marinate the tomatoes, to prepare for
the winter, you can have the food to vegetate for a whole
year, you know. You need to prepare in the summer time, in
the storage houses, and to keep up in the winter. I
prepared people who were doing this in the city, before the
war, for themselves and business and I was young,
enthusiasm, you know. Seven or eight hundred people and
beautiful horses and beautiful and beautiful
office, and I start to have problems with the local
communist. They want to get rid of me. The local
communists from the city.
P:Well, they remembered where you came from.
I:That is right. I have problems and one particular guy, his
mother was working for us, he was a guy of nineteen years, I
think, he said do not worry you will go to Siberia, sooner
or later, you being a big shot does not mean anything. I
went to Wasko, I said listen Mr. Wasko, I told you who I am,
I have not hid anything, you gave me a job, I am
responsible, but I believe certain people should not
interfere, because they are paralyzing and they are taking
away my respect. Who is this, he said. I said, it is this
guy. He said do not worry. The next day, I am coming into
the office and I see the newspaper. The newspaper going,
everyday I was going down to the local newspaper to see what
was going on. I saw the newspaper and this David Rosin.
His name was Rosin was transferred to be manager in the
farm, on a big farm, eight to ten thousand pigs, which most
agronomists would not take this responsibility because with
pigs you need to know all of their kinds of diseases, you
need to know the business in different ways, you can be
wiped out and he kindly told me, you see. Fine God bless
P:What happened to this guy?
I:He went to jail, I will tell you why. He took over the farm,
in six weeks the pigs start to die. He did not know
anything about this. They sentence him for .He
was against the against communism and he was sent
to Siberia. This was the Russian communist system.
P:What was your reaction to that?
I:I know in heart that when they are assigned to go to this farm,
I as a professional agronomist, I do not take this
responsibility. It is a very touchy, you know what I mean,
you have to be very careful, you must know how to handle, it
was a special disease, they call they will be sick
over night and they will die like flies. I was working a
year and a half, respectful, a lot of Polish people were
working by me, I was giving them jobs, they considered the
place as a hiding place to be. You know. If you are not a
communist you can not have a job, I took him away. Polish,
Ukrainian, Jewish, all come in, I need you.
P:Your family, were they over there?
I:My wife was over there with me, my father. I had a child at
this time, a daughter, she is now here. This was going on
and I was very careful, because my father warned me
constantly. "Remember, my son, do not engage yourself
politically. Communism will not stay forever here. Do not
make enemies because you do not know what will be tomorrow."
After six or seven months, the political took away
three big farms from Polish prince, you know what I mean.
Nobody can operate us.
P:They took away your father's farm too.
I:Oh yeah, my father went away in a different direction and the
called me to tell me, "can you come at least once a
week, to give some directions. We are losing we
are losing our cattle, we are losing everything."
I said, I do not know.
"Once a week."
I said, "Okay I promise, one day a week I will spend on each farm
and I will give instructions of what to do." The first
week, when I arrived to one of the farms, the beautiful farm
was a Polish prince of the farm, though I arrived over there
and the Russian army is setting in the stables, the horses
on the wheat, and not on oats. You know, I mean, and in the
big beautiful rooms, they knocked out the windows and they
put in little chimney out through the
windows. You know, from Siberia, Russia, you
know. I said, listen, first of all the you must
remove the army. He removed the army and later I tried to
help, though not too much, for it was practically
impossible, you know, because I was only one man. All of a
sudden, you know how they organized agriculture, the
Russians, all of a sudden their was a shortage in potatoes,
a shortage of cabbage. We exported, Poland exported before
the war, we were 68% agriculture. We exported to the United
States, pork, eggs, poultry, we exported, all sorts of
shortage and their was nothing their and I went to Russia,
they sent me to Russia to buy products to bring into Poland,
for the people, the army.
P:So, you actually went to Russia?
I:Yes, I went to Russia, I spent three weeks over there.
I loaded up a whole train. Products I
bought and brought to the city parts. I was gone for this
seventeen months, Friday night the 22 of June, Hitler
attacked the Russians. In the day time, I loaded two cars
on the train, on the Germans side. You will see
the Germans constantly, and they have not realized, the
Russians, that the Germans are preparing for a war. They
have the whole army prepared to hit the Russians. The 22 of
June, in the night time, at one o'clock, the Germans crossed
the city and we are under German occupation and this time,
all of my kingdom, was finished, only I got a lot of Polish,
which I helped tremendously during the Russian occupation
and immediately in the night time on [inaudible] stopped
over at my house. He asked my wife, where is Stanley.
P: or the Polish?
I:From the Polish community, before the war.
I:Where is Stanley? He is hiding, I am taking him home. He took
me to his house, he said we will see what the Germans will
do with the Jews. A week, two weeks, to wait around, in the
mean time I was sitting two weeks over there by him and this
same guy during the Russian occupation, his three daughters
was working by me. All three daughters I got jobs,
was working by me. He helped us a lot with the Germans.
P:What was his name?
I: I was now in Poland, I was with the children there,
I spent hours with them and he helped and they consecrated
the ghettos, the Germans, I went in to the ghetto and I got
direct contact with the Polish underground.
P:Before we get going into the Polish underground, a few
questions about just that.
P:You said that he helped you. How did he help you?
I:How, first of all when they took us to the ghettos, I got a
house, I got everything in the house.
P:So, he had pulled with the Nazis then.
I:No, he was Polish. The Polish they had not done anything. He
helped me, he took away everything from my house and he
prepared me, Polish, German documents, that I am not Jewish
with my wife, in case we should need to run away, we should
have a passport. They called us in German, Kenkarta. A
Germans Kenkarta, he prepared this and he took away my
jewelry, silver, It was just after a wedding and finally he
helped me to put in my child to the bishop.
P:Bishop, what was the name of the bishop?
P:Your daughter went, what was your daughter's name?
I:Tony. He was going with messages to help You know,
he was helping, you know what I mean. He was devoted
P:Okay, now you went to the Polish ghetto.
I:No, Jewish ghetto.
P:Jewish ghetto. Where was this?
P:In Shamish. Now, how did you become the personal writing
I:Well, being in the ghetto, finally the Commandant,
was a He wanted to learn horse back riding, he
and his wife. The was giving an order, all the
Jewish people which no something about horses should
immediately report to this and this place. There was
reported about three hundred men. In the three hundred men,
I was too. My only brother and maybe an hour later, two
German general from SS put a table out and brought
three horses and everyone from this must go five
hundred feet from one side and the other side of the horse.
The two generals were checking back and forth, back and
forth, finally when I stopped him on the horse, then I was
qualified with the horse as excellent.
P:I am sorry?
I:I was qualified with horses from my home, on the farm, and I
was an excellent rider on a horse. One of the generals said
to the other one, this dirty jew, he is riding so
like excellent the dirty Jew, he called
me in German, he is riding something unbelievable. Put the
man aside. Finally they tested the whole group and
everybody went home and they called me in. They sid, Listen
you are responsible with your head.
P:I am sorry what?
I:I am responsible for my head, for the Commandant and his wife.
You must teach him horse back riding and remember if
something were to happen to him or to her, you will be
killed on the spot. This was a tremendous responsibility,
because this he cared more for a horse than an
Orthodox Rabbi, you know. This person who I took to a
horse, was killing people, but a horse he was
afraid. I started to train him and her. One day her and
one day him, finally she was riding better than he.
P:What was her name, do you remember?
[Mr. Igel asked his wife and she says a name, he repeats it, but
she is not sure, she can not remember.]
I:Hernay. Finally I must change my twice a day, you
know, I have ten horses in the stable and I have twenty men
to clean the horses. He told me I should not do anything
and I should have clean hands and I should be clean only to
ride with him and with her. I was teaching him practically
a year and her. Finally, the liquidation of the ghetto.
P:When was this?
I:This was in 1943, in July. The SS arrived with a staff
of two hundred men and they finishing out the ghetto.
[inaudible] and the Commandant, the local Commandant, I
started to talk to him, he acted like a wild animal. "Go
away, I do not want to see you."
I: to me. "I do not want to see you." Finally, this guy
from boss, arrived to finish up the
ghetto, he was asking him why did he need ten horses in the
stable. Seven horses [inaudible], you only have two people.
called me, like a dog, take seven horses and put
them on the train.
I:Yes. The train was staying and they were lined up, the Jewish
people, children and women, crying like cattle. You know,
like animals. I took my and I took the seven
horses and this guy was watching how I slowed the captains
horses. He said to you know, I need him to
he is excellent on horses and said take
him. The mean time my wife is hidden in the stable, my
brother is hidden in the stable, and my father is hiding and
we I go, I have to get everybody out and when he told them
that I was going to I got the nerve and I went to
again and I said, "Commandant, your majesty, I am
not going to.
He said, "Go away, I will shoot you." I went away. I
went away, I say this from God, maybe ten minutes Mrs.
is coming to the ghetto. When she was talking to
me, when nobody was listening she called me Mr. Igel.
I:Mr. Igel, but when somebody was listening, she called me Jew,
you there. She asked me why are you so sad. I said to her,
your majesty why should I not be sad. I supposed to go to
my wife, my brother, my father, I hide in the
stable with all of the horses. I have news for you, I said.
I am not going to if he wants to kill me,
She said, quiet down. We will see what we can
do. She went to him and he was giving her the business.
"Go away, I do not want to talk to you." Finally she was
not giving up. She went to his boss. You know, she was
pretty woman, dressed in boots, she took him
talking and laughing. She said to him, "Listen, I have a
man he taught me over about eight or nine months how to
horse back ride, and I still need some training, how about
leave him for three months. I want to finish the course."
She went to the husband and she said, "I have permission from
the eagle, to leave him here, he should teach me horse back
riding." She came around to me and said I was staying
I said, "what will happen to my family?"
"For this I will go to my husband," and she went again to him.
She said, "Listen, why should I go to your boss, why should
you not give him permission to take his family from the
stables too?" Finally, was coming over to me. He
said, "Ah you are lucky. Where are you hiding your family?"
I said, "In the stable."
He said, "Bring them out," and I was this way, "or we
will kill them." I did not have anything to lose. I went
to the stable and my wife was crying.
"You are taking me for killing."
I said, "Come out." I took out my brother and my wife.
I:No, my father, I was keeping, I was afraid he was older, he
should not send him away, so I was keeping him in the
stable. In the mean time, I am staying in the stable and I
am the boss while I am here. He started to segregate two
hundred and fifty people which would remain to clean up the
mess. Right, left, he was coming towards my wife.
He said, "You are lucky," right to my brother, "you are lucky
too, to remain." This was the end. They took away all of
the Jews to two hundred and fifty remained, I
returned back and I returned my father to my old home.
Only, this was the end. I was talking to my wife, "Listen,
my dear wife, next week you are leaving." I have prepared
places for Polish people. I prepared place for everyone.
For my brother, and I took her out twenty-six miles in the
woods to a Polish family. But, this Polish family was
killed because of us and she went over there.
P:Where did you take her?
I:To a Polish family, which I know the family.
P:How did you know them?
I:I met them during the Polish and I know he was a
retired Polish police man from the old regime, you know.
P:Okay, they were killed by the
I:Later, I will tell you why. I later, went with my wife to him
and I took with me three other guys too. It was in the
winter time, his name was Gerula, Mr. and Mrs. Gerula.
Finally, Mr. Gerula was going Sunday morning to church. He
was coming back in two hours and he said to me, "You know,
Mr. Igel, a woman was hollering in the church, that I was
hiding Jewish people."
I said, "Mr. Gerula to night I am leaving."
He said, "No, do not be stupid, who is listening to her."
I said, "Mr. Gerula to night I am leaving." In the night time, I
took my brother, I took my wife, he took us out five miles
out in the woods and then we left. The three guys, when I
told them do not stay here any more, they started laughing.
They said, "You are panicking. You are known for panic
making." They remained. This was Sunday. Tuesday morning
the arrived, they looked around, they found the
three Jewish guys, they killed them on the spot,
and they arrested and his wife. Why they arrested
them, there was a reason. I left a little suit case and
over there was all of my papers. They found the papers,
they told them tell them where the Igels are and they said,
"I do not know," and he knew where we were exactly. They
hung them in Shamish, in thirty days. She and he were hung
and they never admitted where we were.
P:How do you know what they said and so forth?
I:Well, I will tell you why. The children [inaudible].
P:What was the name of this man again?
P:A retired police officer.
I:A retired police officer.
P:Was he friends with your family too?
I:No, I met him coincidentally, you know.
P:Many years ago.
I:That is right.
P:Now, something that we have not touched on was some of the
atrocities that you saw commit.
P:I remember you telling me about riding through the ghetto.
I:It was like nothing to kill people in the ghetto with a machine
gun. It was exactly like going hunting.
P:So, tell me the experience.
I:Well a lot of times I was riding with them, the horses, I was
riding with them day and night, constantly. He was in the
front and I was at the end. Children were playing or
somebody was staying near the line, for fun, he pulled out
the gun and he killed. A matter of a fact, a Polish guy, an
older Polish guy was trying to sell bread to a Jewish guy in
the ghetto, he was near the fence. He caught them and he
P:Did you see him order them?
P:Just for selling bread.
I:Selling bread to a Jewish guy, to help a Jewish guy. You know
mostly what I am really surprised about is that the schools,
the universities are limited in this catastrophe. Do you
know why? After we all leave in a few years, we are not
here forever, after we will go, this will fade out
completely. Because we are still the witnesses of what we
saw and what we went through. History when you put it in a
book, it is always weaker, you know how it is. Difference
is that I can say that I was there, I saw this and different
again is oh, I saw that in a book. It is entirely different
and this is the reason I testified in case. The
chairman court was very much impressed with me. Why? There
was a testimony before me . .
[end of side two A].
P:Okay, I want to stay on a little bit longer. Now you
have told me about him riding through the ghetto with you
I:Children, people. Not only Jewish, but he saw someone near the
ghetto and he did not like them.
P:Was this on one occasion?
I:On this one occasion, very so.
P:So, you only saw him do it one time.
I:One time, yes.
P:How many people did he shoot?
I:In the hundreds of people.
P:That one time?
I:No, the whole time, this time he killed five, ten, for fun. He
enjoyed it. I personally feel, he was a sick man.
P:Now, I am just trying to be a little clearer. You saw him, did
you only see him one time do this and shoot and kill?
I:Twenty thirty times.
P:Thirty times you saw him do this?
I:That is right. It was nothing, it was normal for him.
P:So, whenever he was riding with you?
I:When I was riding with him he was looking around for trouble,
he was looking out to find trouble, you know. Children were
playing, usually children were not allowed, the children
should be home and not exist at all. All the children they
took to and if children were hiding, you know, some
people were hiding the children and if he saw them, he
finished them up.
P:Did you ever feel like killing him yourself?
I:Yes, and no. I will tell you why. I was afraid. If I go kill
him, then what was the possibility, my whole family will be
killed and beside this another hundred and thirty people
would be killed. They will take advantage of it, they will
say, this dirty Jew he killed the
Commandant. We will take two hundred people to kill him.
This is the reason.
P:But, you did debate it with yourself?
I:Oh, yes. I will tell you why. I realized that in times like
that, you start to be wild. You start to think entirely
different. If you see innocent people are killed, children
are killed, you know, without any reasons, without any
crimes. Only because he is Jewish.
P:Did you think God had abandoned you?
P:Were you still practicing your faith?
P:You were practicing your faith.
P:But you thought God had abandoned you.
P:I do not understand.
I:No, if I was thinking God abandoned me, no, I was forgetting
that God is helping me to exist in life and to survive.
P:So you did not think God was abandoning you.
I:No, up to the last moment. I was always feeling, God will help
me and the reason I was feeling God will help me is because
during this catastrophe, during the Communist regime and
during the Hitler regime I was trying to help a lot of
people. No matter what kind of and I felt that we
have something higher to pay me back at least this.
P:I guess what I was trying to ask you is, seeing all of these
innocent children and seeing all of this tragedy, did this
ever shake your faith, your belief and the existence of God.
I:Well, the older you are getting, then you start to believe
more. You are saying, their must be something higher.
P:Well, that may apply to Stanley Igel right now, in 1993, but I
am asking you as a young man in 1943.
P:Did you have, was your faith in God during this time shaken?
I:No. I was believing still, that I have done a lot of good for
people and I was ninety percent sure that I would survive.
P:Okay. That is your future, but I am asking about God. Did you
think that God . .
I:No, I was thinking that there was something higher and it was a
lot better. Because I respected my parents, I have done
everything that was possible for my parents and for my
family. I respected poor people, I was trying to help
during the Communist regime hundreds of hundreds of people
and I was thinking that I had faith and I was not wrong.
P:Were any of your relatives killed by the Nazis?
I:Two hundred and sixty-five close relatives. From both
sides, father's and mother's.
I:Uncles, aunts, two hundred and sixty-five on a list.
P:How many of them did you know well of?
P:You mean you had two hundred and sixty-five relatives?
I:Yes. It was a big family. Mother had six sisters and four
brothers and father had four brothers and two sisters and
you know cousins and uncles and aunts and second cousins.
Two hundred and sixty-five people.
P:Now, I am going to try to ask you, aside from the many times, I
am going to try to minimize it, the many times road
through the ghettos shooting people, and you said how many
times did you say you saw him do this yourself?
P:You saw him kill people . .
I:Countless times and this I testified in court. I told him that
he did not do anything to me personally, because he needed
me, but what I witnessed he alone should be cut in pieces.
Not sentenced, but cut in pieces and thrown to the dogs.
P:So, there is no forgiveness in your heart?
I:No. She was a nice lady. [inaudible] a matter of fact she left
him, like I understand.
P:Tell me did he ever do this killing of other people in the
presence of his wife? Did he act differently in the
presence of his wife ?
I:I can not say that I never saw her, when he killed. Oh, she
knows about it, believe me.
P:Never in her company?
P:Let me just make this clear. Never in her company did you see
I:No, never. This is the reason that I got a feeling that she
was against it when she was alive. Hitler was running the
war, would take over the whole world soon.
P:Did you see any other atrocities, I mean those are a lot of
atrocities, you are talking about dozens of atrocities, but
did you see other, not so much atrocities, but other clear
examples, other memories of atrocities that he committed.
I:Well, yes. Figure, he took ten men and he told them to do a
job and they were not able to do the job, he put them on the
floor and he gave them fifty, twenty-five lashes.
P:With his what?
I:It was like steal and rubber.
P:And you saw him do this.
I:Yes, oh yes a lot of times.
P:I understand that you ultimately escaped. When you found out
that he was planning to send you . .
I:No, I escaped, first, I sent away my wife. I sent away my wife
and most, probably somebody from the Jewish people told him
that my wife went away. You know somebody wanted to get
good with him or something and in the morning when I went to
pick him up, he asking me, "I have not seen your wife
where is she?"
I said, "She is sick the second day." "
Tomorrow morning I want her to be remember." This was
around eleven o'clock in the morning, I called up my brother
and said tonight we are going.
He said, [inaudible]. "We are going tonight," and I put two
horses in the garden and [inaudible]
P:I am sorry you took the policeman what?
I: policemen were watching us, when we went out of the
I:A guard, I should say,
P:I told them openly that I needed to go to to put the
horse shoes on the horses.
I:Horse shoes, yes. He went out with me, he knew that I am the
boss for I am riding around with him, at last I
went out from the ghetto and is coming from the
movie. Two big ducks. He says stop. I stepped down and I
went over to his and he said, where are you going
now at 4:45? I said, "I am going to put horse shoes on the
He said, "Remember in forty-five minutes you are back."
I said, "Your majesty I will be back." We went out in the city
and this policeman is asking me, "Where are you going?" I
said, "I will tell you the truth, we have a wedding tonight
and we are going to the wedding for my brother."
"What do I tell the Commandant?"
"Do not worry, I will be back in the morning, I will be back at
5:00 in the morning."
P:Did he see your brother or was your brother hidden?
I:No, my brother was walking by me with the horses and I was
giving my brother a signal. I turned around the horses and
my brother was sitting at the back and he took away the
rifle from the policeman. The rifle was sitting under the
seat. He was sitting and the rifle was next to him. My
brother took the rifle away.
P:You stole it from him.
I:No, we took it away openly. I opened the rifle, took out the
bullets and I was giving the rifle back and we jumped on the
back of the horses and rode into the woods and in the woods,
the same guy who had taken my wife was waiting for
P:Did you take your horses?
I:No, I left him the horses, everything complete.
P:Did the guard run after you?
I:No. He did not have anything. When I took away the bullets
from the rifle, he is not going to go in the woods, they
would kill him over there, you know. He did not have
anything. The next morning, we had found Jewish people, the
next morning I got a report, was waiting until
seven o'clock, I was supposed to go and pick him up and
nobody showed up. He was walking through the ghetto and
they told him that I disappeared. He said I know where he
is, he is on his father's farm, our farm was around seven or
eight miles away. I will find him and we will hang him in
the city. He will hang in the city for fourteen days. He
sent the to the village and I was in a different
P:With your wife?
I:With my wife and my brother.
P:Your daughter was still with the bishop?
P:You just said something to me in passing. You said that he
called you number forty-five. What ? What did he
I:He called me Igel.
P:Igel okay. I thought you said he called you forty-five.
P:Okay. Never mind then.
I:Or sometimes he called me nothing, you.
I:You in German. not by my name.
P:Now, you were also a member of the Polish underground.
P:During the same time?
P:What sorts of things did you do as a member of the underground?
I:I will tell you. We were assigned by the Germans to select
guns and munitions for the Russians left. You know, they
took over the barracks, the Germans. There was a lot of
guns and munitions and they got a group of people to sort
them out and select, to see it, to pack them, and to send
them to the Germans. My job was to steal rifles, munitions
and to supply the Polish underground.
P:So, the Germans assigned you to help collect all of this stuff.
I:Not only me, I got twenty-five, thirty people. There were big
warehouses. The Russians left the warehouses.
P:But the Germans assigned you to do what?
I:To watch these twenty-five people who selected the munitions,
the guns, they cleaned, they packed, there was shipping for
the German army from the Russian front.
P:But, you ended up stealing some of it.
P:Sending it to the underground.
I:Send it to the underground, the Polish underground.
P:Would they get other people in cahoots with you doing this?
I:Well, I was afraid, so I had not too many, one or two. I was
afraid to trust. It should not leak out. You know. You
know how it is. People are working, sometimes somebody will
be mad at me and will say you were still munitions
and guns. I was trying to be limited.
P:Were there a lot of Polish collaborators?
I:With the Germans?
P:With the Germans.
I:Yes. Not a big percentage, only a few were collaborating.
P:Huh. Do you remember any other things that you were doing with
the underground? Did you have secret meetings from time to
I:Well, yes. We had secret meetings. In the meetings most
interests were how to bring munitions and guns. We did not
have any reports on what was going on outside, we had no
radios, nothing. What is going on? Well, the front of
Russia is progressing. You know.
P:But, you were working at this place while you were working for
I:No. This was a whole year before.
I:When I was working with horseback riding, I was not
doing anything. This was my job.
P:So immediately after the Russians retreated and the Germans
took over, you worked in this . .
I:In the This means the boss of the city and
the army. They have two divisions. was the army
and Gestapo, was the police. The was not so bad,
the soldiers, the plain army. The head of the was
this old captain .Which he saved us too. He was a
German, a major.
P:This is in what city?
I:He was doing a lot of good for the Jewish people.
P:How did he help you?
I:How he helped. We got work in his unit, around seventy or
eighty people and when the started to prepare a
liquidation, he knew before and he told me always, listen be
careful this week. The was coming and they will
take our ten or twenty percent people in the ghetto.
Finally when the liquidation was before we went to
he Sunday morning was calling me said to the military
policemen that he needed me badly, that I should come to
work. he said listen, the is going to
liquidate fifty percent of the ghetto. I need my eighty
people. I will send trucks for the wives and children and
take them out and bring them here to the basement. I went
with five big trucks, the military police and the families
we took out which were working over there. He kept them in
the basement and the were on the second floor and
for this purpose they took him under front. He lost his
position and they sent him on the Russian front. When I
testified, I asked where he is, if he survived or did he
die, he was older. I told the German court he was
gentlemen, he deserved for and for this reason they
sent him on the Russian front.
P:Did he die on the Russian front?
I:No, he turned back. He was in He returned back and
he died later. His wife is alive and they were giving me
the address for his wife and I will be in Germany and I will
go and visit her some day.
P:What was his name, do you remember?
P:Colonel Battel or?
I:He was a retired attorney.
P:You actually think that he was a hero.
I:Yes. He was talking to me. He used me to go shopping for him,
to do things like a butler, you know what I mean. To bring
him something and a lot of times he told me in the house,
"Watch this brown gangsters from they are no good.
They will kill all the Jews. Only do not talk to anybody.
If you have a place, find one for yourself, for the family
P:He was telling you that?
P:And this was before came in the picture.
I:Oh, before It was before
P:Now when you went to the Jewish ghetto.
P:And these families.
P:You knew that the families that you loaded up had a good chance
of living, and those who did nol load up had a very good
chance of dieing.
P:I am sure that you might have taken some people that you knew
I:Well, you know how it is. If I can sneak in someone else in
the truck, I sneak them in, you know. Or you can not get
too many. If you have five trucks and we have sixty or
seventy people working, he wants to have all of his working
people and the women and children.
P:So, there is a little bit of discretion.
I:Was a little bit always.
P:Now, how many trucks did they send in?
I:Five or six trucks, but they were with the military police.
P:How many people did you end up bringing?
I:Around seventy-five, eighty or maybe ninety, I do not remember
P:This kind of put you in a position of power though.
I:I will tell you yes and no. I will tell you why. I was an
order from the commandant that he wanted to have
his people brought from the ghetto. The military police
P:What I am saying in a position of power is if you decide to get
one or two families more, I am sure you had to decide which
I:Well, it is always like this. No matter how you want to do it,
you can not help everyone.
P:That is difficult though.
I:It is difficult.
P:Because literally has the power of life or death.
I:That is right.
P:How did you deal with that?
I:Well, more or less if you know somebody, it is human nature.
The shirt is always closer to the skin, than the jacket.
P:I have never heard that one before.
I:That is right.
P:Now during this time, before during when
you were living under German occupation, was there any sort
of cultural activities?
I:No, not for the Jewish people.
P:So, there were not synagogues that you would go to?
P:Even in secret?
I:Even in secret.
P:Was there anything socially that you did to
I:Yes, to save a life. This was the of everyone. To
have bread, a bottle of milk and to save for tomorrow.
P:That is it?
I:To live from day to day. It is very hard to explain today,
being fifty years in the United States, to explain the
mentality in this time. People start in this time to be a
little bit like animals.
I:Why, I want to live. I am doing everything that is possible to
live and this is unfortunately, no matter how unrealistic
you are, your life, or your wife's life, or your brother's
life, or your child's life is coming first always. We must
admit this. I doubted if somebody would say, okay I will
send my father, and I will save you. It is human nature.
P:I would like to go back to again.
P:We keep going back to him, I know. Can you in your mind
remember the first time that you saw him kill a child or
I:Yes, very simple. The first time that we went out horseback
riding and I was leading the horse and he
was sitting, he was scared of a horse, like a duck.
P:The first time?
I:The first week and I was holding him on the horse so he would
not fall down. Because his boss told me that if anything
were to happen to him, I would be killed immediately and I
was holding him and he was scared. Children were running
around, you know how children are, little, three years, four
years, five years, you know, he pulled out the gun and shot
around and around. He killed about two our three or four or
I:Killed them or very interesting incident. The brought
to the ghetto two beautiful girls. Jewish girls. Beautiful
girls. They caught them on the train and found papers that
they were not Jewish. They brought them to the ghetto.
P:How did they know they were Jewish if the papers said they were
I:Oh, do not worry, they know. They have all kinds of ways.
Most probably they were beating them and they admitted.
They were told to go to he was the boss of all the
Jewish people. He took them aside and he pulled out his gun
and click, click and that was all.
P:Did you see this?
P:You saw this?
I:Yes. I saw him hang this guy. Three guys decide to run away
from the ghetto.
I:Yes. Three Jewish men decide to go to the These
were city boys. I was a country boy. But, a city boy is
hard to run away and to be in the woods, to be in the field.
Do you know what I mean? I was a country boy, it was easy
for me. After a week they returned back. They returned back
and he hung one of these guys and he was staying and
watching. It took three Jewish policemen. They have
police, we have Jewish policemen, without guns. They just
needed policemen to keep everything in order, do you know
what I mean. He hung this guy.
I:He hung one of those guys for returning to the ghetto.
P:What did he do with the Jewish policemen?
I:Nothing the policemen hung him.
P:The Jewish policemen hung him?
I:Yes. He was watching. He was giving the orders.
P:Wow. So, Jewish policemen were hanging?
I:Yes. They followed the orders of if they did not, he
would pull the gun out and kill them. In the ghetto there
was no other people, just Jewish people.
I:When he walked in the ghetto, God is walking. The man of life
and death. It is fifty years after this happened. It is
very hard. It is very hard to write a story about this.
You know. It was easy to write a story forty-five years
ago. When I was in Poland this year, we went to
The children went to the camp in I was not there.
I was staying outside. Do you know why? I was thinking,
what should I go to see. I saw this personally,
[end of side one B].
The Polish council, from 1938 to 1939, he is now a professor, a
food professor in Tampa University. His name is Skarski, I
do not know if you have heard the name. In 1942, the Polish
government in London sent in the ghetto, for the
underground, to find out what was going on in the ghettos,
because there was no CBS, in this time if color television.
Maybe five minutes a year of what is going on in Africa,
you know what I mean. He smuggled into the ghetto.
He saw how many thousand of people every day are killed and
die in hunger. The cars taken dead to the cemetery.
Children, fifty, hundred every day and he saw this and he
returned back to London and I was talking to him a few years
ago at Tampa University, he was lecturing, and he returned
back to London and he explained to the Polish government,
what he saw, with his own eyes, because the American people
and the English people had not believed in the beginning,
that Hitler was killing millions of Jews. They were not
believing, they said it was a story, propaganda. Finally he
decided to go to the United States. He went to the United
States, he was invited by President Roosevelt and he told
Roosevelt what he saw in the ghetto. Not that
somebody told him, but that he saw it with his own eyes. In
Roosevelt's office was sitting Justice Frankfurter. Justice
Frankfurter told him, Dr. Skarski, I do not believe it, this
is a propaganda. No, I am questioning something else.
Where was the intelligence of the United States. Did they
need to have Dr. Skarski, something else. When the
Americans were bombing from Germany, they were bombing the
area of Auschwitz and the Polish and Jewish underground sent
a telegram to the American head quarters, "Bomb Auschwitz.
We have two million in Auschwitz and you will kill a million
and a half at least a half a million people will be able to
get out." The answer was, "We can not bomb Auschwitz
because our planes can not go so far. We need to refuel.
Five miles from Auschwitz, was factories from Germans,
airplanes was bombed every night. Now this is a mystery up
to today, why this has happened, what was going on. Well,
you have a lot of older Jewish people that do not believe
that the United States had done their job in this time.
P:You sound very suspicious and very bitter.
I:Yes. I do not believe with the technology, with the embassies
all over, they should know that Hitler is killing six
million Jews It has not been explained to me yet. As a
growing I do not believe it.
P:Another question and that is, what I found fascinating is what
you told me about Jewish police officers in the ghetto.
I:Not, police officers, policemen. It was like guards.
P:Jewish guards, who were filling the dictated commands.
I:Of the Germans.
P:Of the Germans.
I:If they do not, they will kill them right away and everyone
wants to live, believe me.
P:You do not blame them?
I:Yes and no. I will tell you why. Remember, life is very
important, nobody wants to die and if he will not do the
job, the Gestapo will kill him, in this way he will have
another moment, maybe he will survive. You know, you need
to put yourself in the shoes of the other person.
P:Would you have done it?
I:I would not do it, maybe. I would not do it maybe, because I
do not trust to many of them. If I would be there
policemen, they could kill me anyhow. Wait until they kill
of all of the policemen anyhow. This was common for an
experience at that time. Well, it sounds to me that there
are a lot of people who were unsung heros that helped you
P:Well, I hate to go on personalities. Because unfortunately if
you in to personalities, you will find so many
discrepancies. Sometimes you believe and you do not
believe. It is very simple, mothers were giving up
children. They selected women and children, the children
separate, certain mothers went together with the child, to
the crematory, certain mothers take care of the child that
wants to live. You know, in this time the question of
survival is excused, because immediately people in a
situation like this turn into animals. You are losing the
morals, you are losing everything.
P:Did you have any nightmares?
I:Not now, before I had them. Not now.
P:When you say before?
I:After the liberation. Now, you listen it is fifty years after
P:But after, like for some years after you had nightmares.
P:What kind of nightmares?
I:Well, you see the ghetto, the liquidation, I am running away,
this, you know.
It is very easy to say today, I was a hero. It is not going so.
[next few lines are confusing.]
P:Okay, we are just about finished. I want to ask you if there
is any question pertaining to your experience that I should
have asked you, that I missed?
I:Well, I will tell you this, I personally feel I am blaming the
American school system and the lower and the higher
education. I personally feel that the Holocaust is not
being properly taken care of, to inject into the second
generation. But remember, this can repeat. This can
repeat! After fifty years, they built up a strong Germany,
you have a big Nazi party in Germany. You have Nazi parties
in the United States too. We do not want to see them. It
is not to see them. While I was testifying against
,my telephone was ringing, they were threatening
me, you know, we will kill you, you Kilter did not
kill you we will kill you. Who would have done this? Not
the church people, the Nazi party. They have Nazi parties
here, only we do not want to see them. We are living in a
country with all of the comforts and all of the luxuries and
we want to enjoy it, we do not want to see what is wrong.
P:Why must we remember?
I:We must remember, I tell you why. Take Poland, there are no
Jews in Poland any more, we have four or five thousand Jews
left and they are dieing, eighty, ninety years old. If
something will happen, the next will be the Catholics. No
Jews. Personally I feel that the free world is not doing
enough to inject through and through and to keep alive what
P:Before we conclude, just a few final things, I would like to
try to get the rest of your life in about two minutes. So,
you ended up leaving for the United States, when?
P:1946. You had subsequent children in the United States.
P:All of your children are born . .
I:My daughter I took with me and my family came over here.
P:Your son is born here. Yeah. You moved to New Jersey you
I:I moved to New Jersey for a far, I was elected by the Gentile
community to the County Board of Agriculture. The first
time a Jew was on the County Board of Agriculture. I was
president on the County Board of Agriculture. Later I was
elected by the Gentile community to the State Board of
Agriculture in Trenton and I was president for years.
Again, Governor Meyner, sent me to Washington to represent
the state of New Jersey in the Agricultural department and
no country in the world, can compete with the United States.
This is the country, if you want, if you are honest and you
know the limits, you know how far you can go, then I pray to
God for my children and my grandchildren here, God save
America and to save America, you need to look at this old
catastrophe carefully and not let it repeat again.
P:You have been retired here for how many years?
I:I have been retired for eight or nine years.
P:You moved here [where is here] in 19?
P:You used to be the president of the Farm Bureau?
I:In Poland no, in Trenton yes.
P:For New Jersey.
I:For New Jersey yes. I retired here, I joined
Hospital. I was on the board six years here.
Hospital, was the Jewish day school.
P:You have been to Israel.
I:Yes. Just three months ago. I was in Poland and then Israel.
I took the children to Poland and from Poland, we went to
P:Do you plan to return to both places in the future?
I:Oh yes. If God will to live, then yes. And I still
P:It is still home in a sense.
P:Okay. These final few question, are very general, just little
things that I forgot. What was the period time that you
were under, with ?
I:A year and a half.
P:From when to when.
I:From 1942, the end of 1942 to the end of forty three. A year,
maybe fourteenth months. But the backed out, where
we were working for the arrived and he
P:If you were twenty years younger, what would you want to do?
I:If I were twenty years younger, I would travel nationwide.
From state to state, from county to county and I would try
to educate the young generation of what kind of catastrophe
happened and to try to convince them that they should be
careful that it does not happen again in the future.
P:You said you had a sister who lives in Israel.
I:Yes, she was in 1940. The KGB arrested her with the
two children, because a week before they arrested her
husband and he died in in the force. They arrested
her with two children, they took her away to Siberia and she
was in Siberia for three and a half years. Later she joined
the Polish army and the two children went with General
Anders with the army to Palestine at this time and the two
children are alive, the daughter is in Houston today and the
son is in New York and she is in Israel. She is eighty five
years old. She was fighting in Israeli army, hoping to
liberate Israel and now she is eighty five years old. She
does not want to move any place.
P:You also testified in 1991 against
P:He was extradited from Argentina.
P:Some years earlier.
P:And he was convicted in 1991.
I:With life in prison, yes.
P:Where did you testify?
I:I testified in New York. I was supposed to testify in Miami
and I was threatened a few days before, that if I ever go to
Miami they will kill me. I backed out and I was talking to
the German Embassador of Miami and I told him I will testify
on only one condition, you should not publish in the paper
and you will find me a place. Should be strictly
confidential and I will testify. They assigned me to New
York City. Anyhow, when I arrived in New York City,
demonstrations from Nazis were over there, before I went
into the embassy.
P:Against the Nazis?
P:Not for the Nazis?
I:No. For the Nazis.
I:That is right.
P:So, you had to walk through the demonstration.
I:That is right. I went through the demonstration and then I had
not testified at the embassy, I testified a floor higher,
the embassy was afraid to testify, they should do something.
They locked us up in a room on the seventeenth floor and
the whole German court was there. The attorneys.
P: was not there?
P:But his attorneys were there.
P:Did they question you?
I:Yes. One attorney was reasonable, one attorney was a former
Gestapo man, because I saw in his face and the questions
that he was giving me and I told him, I do not want to
answer them, I will answer them through the embassador.
Later we shook hands on t.v. and he went away.
P:You do not know if he was a Gestapo.
I:It was on his face and the questions that he was giving me, it
was a typical Gestapo and I was living years with them, I
P:What was your testimony?
I:My testimony was that I saw how many people he killed
P:How many people do you think he killed?
I:At least two hundred, at least. He admitted himself, that he
killed seventy-five in Argentina.
I:Yes. Here, he denied. He told the court that he was doing
this under the pressure in Argentina.
P:Okay. He told the German court that he admitted that on the
P:That he admitted killing how many?
P:What was his sentence ultimately?
I:Life in prison. But see the law in Germany, you do not have
P:Do you think there should be that penalty?
I: but first of all, I would take him out and put him in
a cage and I will take him all over the world to show them
who he is. This will be a punishment, to kill him is not
punishment either, five minutes and that is all.
P:Okay, anything else.
I:No, that is all.